Notification to the Parties
No. 1998/10 Geneva, 31 March 1998
Monitoring of Illegal Trade in Ivory and Illegal Hunting of Elephants
1. Resolution Conf. 10.10 calls for the establishment of an international system to monitor the illegal trade in ivory and the illegal hunting of elephants. It gives responsibility to the Standing Committee to supervise and direct the establishment of the system.
2. At its 40th meeting (3-6 March 1998, London, United Kingdom), the Standing Committee decided on the actions needed to make progress toward establishment of a monitoring system (see Notification 1998/09).
3. In relation to monitoring of illegal trade, Resolution Conf. 10.10 acknowledges that TRAFFIC International has already established a database to record information on seizures and confiscations of ivory. It recommends that this database be developed and refined. It also calls for all Parties to provide information on seizures and confiscations of ivory and other elephant products.
4. Attached is a copy of a reporting form which Parties are requested to use to submit information on seizures of ivory and other elephant products ("Ivory and Elephant Product Seizure Data Collection Form"). This form, once completed, should be returned to the CITES Secretariat where any information of a sensitive or confidential nature will be extracted. The remaining data will be forwarded to TRAFFIC International which will maintain, on behalf of the Secretariat, their revised database, now called the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS). Additional information, gathered separately, will supplement the information on seizures and will enable greater in-depth monitoring and analysis of illicit trade.
5. Also attached is an "Incident Report Form on Illegal Hunting of Elephants". Parties should use this form to submit information to the Secretariat on individual cases of illegal hunting. This is primarily an operational form, designed to prompt the gathering of information that may aid in co-ordinating efforts against illegal hunting. It is acknowledged that some parts of the form seek information that may be regarded as sensitive and confidential. Parties are of course free to choose how fully they complete each subject field. CITES Management Authorities may wish to investigate the possibility of the form being completed by enforcement agencies. On receipt of completed forms, the Secretariat's Enforcement Assistance Unit will seek to collate the information received and to provide it to appropriate bodies, such as ICPO-Interpol and the World Customs Organization, with a view to aiding Parties in their actions to combat illegal hunting. As with ETIS, separate in-depth gathering of further data and statistics will take place with the aim of meeting the monitoring requirements of Resolution Conf. 10.10.
6. Copies of both report forms will be supplied to ICPO-Interpol and the World Customs Organization, with the request that they consider encouraging their members to use them to contribute information to the CITES databases.
7. The Secretariat has agreed to assist in verifying reports of illegal hunting, since some examples of inaccurate information that have appeared in the media are tending to hamper objective monitoring of this important issue. The Secretariat will only record in its databases incidents that can be confirmed by official or other competent contacts. To this end, the assistance of relevant Parties will be sought in obtaining confirmation or corroboration of reports received from non-official sources.
8. The Secretariat thanks the Parties in advance for their co-operation, which is essential if accurate and meaningful monitoring of illegal ivory trade and elephant hunting is to be achieved.
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